“Calm down, Dave, it’s not good for you,” Graham Chapman said, slumped in an armchair in front of the television.
David Sherlock stopped pacing and spun around on his heels to stare at him, his eyebrows raised, looking less than impressed. “Isn’t that a bit hypocritical coming from you?” He said, and Gray looked down at the glass of gin resting on the arm of the chair.
“Point taken,” he said, smiling. “But do calm down, old chap, there’s no need to worry.”
“But there is, Gray,” David said huffily. He crossed the room and rested on the arm of the sofa, folding his arms across his chest.
“There isn’t,” he said softly, reaching for David’s hand and giving it a quick squeeze.
“There is,” David insisted, pulling his hand away. “What if they hate us?”
“They won’t hate us, Dave,” Gray said, even though he wasn’t totally sure if he was telling the truth. He glanced over at the clock, working out that everyone should be here in half an hour.
“You said that about your parents, though, didn’t you?” David sighed. “And look what that got us: a mouthful of abuse and two more names to strike off of the Christmas card list.”
“Good point,” Graham said, sighing as he thought of how awful that day trip had been. “But the guys won’t be like that.”
“Shh,” Gray reached up and put his finger on David’s lips. “Stop it, stop worrying. We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it, all right?”
David sighed and pushed Gray’s hand away from his face. “Fine.” He huffed, but Gray knew he wasn’t being serious.
“Anyway, you’ve got nothing to lose,” Gray said, trying to pretend that he wasn’t as worried as his partner about what might happen. “I’m the one who’ll be kicked out of our little Python gang if they decide they hate me.”
“What do you think this party’s going to be about?” Eric Idle asked, turning down the radio so he could hear his partner’s reply (but also because he really hated that song).
Michael Palin raised his eyebrows and sighed, turning the radio back up again. “I was listening to that. And I’ve already told you fifty times that I don’t know.”
“You know, Mike, do you think we could use this party as a way to come out to all the others?” Eric said, trying not to smile at his obviously good idea.
Mike turned to look at him, looking slightly puzzled. “Why?”
“I mean, everyone’ll be in one place, and we can easily get everyone’s attention.”
He looked in the mirror and saw Mike begin to smile. “Yes . . . that is an idea, isn’t it?”
“Yep,” he said. “I mean, if you’re ready to come out. I don’t want us to do this if you’re not ready.”
“No,” Mike covered his hand with his own and gave it a squeeze. “I’m ready.”
Not wanting to keep anyone waiting, Terry Jones hurtled down his garden path and practically jumped into the car, where Terry Gilliam was sat behind the wheel, waiting for him.
“Thanks for the lift, Terry,” He said, resting the bottle of wine he was holding between his knees.
“’S nothing,” Gilliam said, starting the car. He glanced at the bottle Jonesy was holding, and looked worried. “Are we meant to bring a gift, ‘cause I’ve got nothing?”
“I don’t think presents are mandatory, Terry, don’t worry,” He said, trying to be reassuring.
“That’s great,” Gilliam said, sighing in relief. “Right then, we just need to pick up John, and then we’ll be on our way.”
“Who forced you to be the designated driver?” Terry asked, secretly glad that he wasn’t going to have to go sober for the evening.
“No one,” Gilliam said. “I just don’t feel like drinking today, so I thought I’d do you lot a favour.”
Terry smiled. “Thanks.”
When Gilliam pulled the car up outside John’s house, they found the tall man already stood on the pavement, tapping his foot impatiently.
“About bloody time,” he grumbled, getting into the back seat.
“Sorry,” Gilliam grinned sheepishly, and Jonesy watched John rest a bottle of wine on the seat beside him. He didn’t tell Gilliam about it.
“Nice to see you in such a good mood, John,” Terry said, and John swatted at him, narrowly missing his ear.
“Shut up, Jones. Now, do either of you know what the hell this is all about?”
Gilliam, not able to look away from the road, simply shook his head, and Jonesy added a simple, “Nope. No clue. I thought you might have know, but obviously not.”
“Bloody Graham.” John huffed, folding his arms across his chest. “This is just like him, leaving us all confused like this. No one else wouldn’t tell you why they were having a party until you got there, would they?”
Terry didn’t like to agree with John, but this time, he knew that John was right. This really was such a Graham-y thing to do. The bastard.
“Hello, Mike, hello, Eric, it’s great to see you!” Graham said with such enthusiasm it actually made him jump, opening the door wider so they could come in.
“Hi, Gray,” Mike said, handing him the bottle of wine he had in his hands. For the first time, he saw another man stood behind Graham, and added, “Who’s this, Gray?”
“Ah,” Graham said, looking slight awkward, but then smiling. “This’s David, my, uh, housemate.” Mike could have sworn that David raised his eyebrows.
“Hello, David, I’m Michael,” he offered David a hand, and got a tight, strong handshake in return.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” David said, leading him through the hallway and into the simplistic yet stylish living room. “Graham’s told me a lot about you.”
Mike grinned and plonked down onto a wonderfully squishy sofa. Eric joined him a minute or so later, still talking to Graham.
“Would you two like a drink?” David asked, talking straight over Gray, who playfully slapped his arm.
“Yes please,” Eric said, but Mike was too busy staring at Gray and David, and how they were interacting.
Because they didn’t seem to be acting like just flatmates, and he was sure he wasn’t the only one who had noticed.
Not too much later, John, Jonesy and Gilliam arrived, and Mike got up to give them each a hug (or a handshake if they were John), being careful not to spill his wine all over the white carpet. Once all of the introductions were done, Jonesy sat on his other side on the sofa, and John and Gilliam both took one of the three armchairs.
“Now, Gray, is it all right if I ask you why the hell you’ve dragged us all here?” John asked, obviously in a bad mood, as usual.
Graham took in a deep breath, suddenly looking very anxious, and had a swig from his glass of gin. “Well, uh, chaps, I’ve got, uh, something I’d like to tell you. Uh . . .” He looked over at David, who crossed the room and stood beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Well, David isn’t really my flatmate, he’s, he’s my . . . my partner . . . I’m . . . I’m gay.”
Everyone sat in silence, looking absolutely stunned. Except Mike, this is, who began to splutter with laughter, beaming delightedly.
“I knew it!” He giggled, managing to set Eric off too. The others were all smiling now, except John, who just looked very, very confused. “I knew you two weren’t just flatmates when I first saw David. This is brilliant!”
“You’re not horrified?” Graham said, and David took hold of his hand.
“No! Of course not, you silly sod.” Eric said, grinning. He got up and gave Gray and David a joint hug, patting them both on the back. “This is brilliant!”
“Are you all right, John?” Gilliam asked, watching the older man’s face.
“Think so,” John said slowly, looking dazed. “I just can’t believe it.”
“I know what you mean, John,” Jonesy said, actually agreeing with John for once. “I mean, out of the six of us, I think Gray’s possibly the most butch.”
“He’s got a point, Gray,” David said as Gray pulled a mock-offended face. “If I didn’t know you, I’d think you were the one least likely to be gay.”
Mike looked at Eric, and knew what he was going to do just from the smile on his face. Even though he didn’t quite feel right trying to steal Graham’s spotlight, he didn’t stop his partner as he got to his feet, and began to speak.
“While we’re on the subject, actually, there’s something I want to tell you too.” He reached for Mike’s hand and interlocked their fingers, and smiled.
“No!” Gilliam said, his eyes widening and his smile looking like it was going to split his face in half.
“You two as well?” Jonesy said, looking just as stunned.
“Yes,” Eric said, surprisingly formal. “Me and Mike are in a relationship.”
Mike watched as Graham pulled a bundle of notes out of his pocket and stuffed them into David’s hand.
“You had a bet?” Mike asked, and David nodded.
“Yeah, I bet Gray twenty quid that you two were gay, and he thought you weren’t. So I’m in the money now!”
“Although, technically, I’m bisexual,” Eric said.
“What’s that mean?” Gilliam asked, still looking at John, who still looked confused as hell.
“It means I like women as well as men,” Eric explained, looking slightly embarrassed. “But I think I prefer men.”
“Who doesn’t?” Graham said, with a wink.
“Well, me for one,” John said, taking them all by surprise. “I’m not gay. I’m probably the only one here who isn’t, but I most definitely do not prefer men.”
Gray raised his eyebrows. Mike noted that Gilliam and Jonesy didn’t seem to be arguing either way, and were just sitting there, watching what was going on.
“Look, Gray, and Mike, and Eric, I totally respect you for coming out about this . . . it’s just a bit of a shock.”
Mike smiled, but he wasn’t surprised that John was finding it hard to accept, and that made him feel a bit sad. But then Eric took hold of his hand again and squeezed it hard, and he grinned for real, knowing that they weren’t going to have to keep their relationship a secret any more.